30 March 2015

Think Tank: Sea State - Australia’s Future Submarine Summit (30-Mar-2015)

Japanese Soryu class Submarine (File Photo)

Amelia Long

This week’s Sea State will examine some of the more prominent debates to arise from Australia’s Future Submarine Summit, the most recent forum to hold informed discussion on the trajectory of SEA 1000: the largest defence project in Australia’s history.

The Sub Summit took place on 25 and 26 March in Adelaide, South Australia. A lot of the debate revolved around the build location and the relative advantages of local construction versus offshore sourcing—effectively the contenders for the now-infamous ‘competitive evaluation process’.

That the process has become politicised as was evident from the competing views and priorities put forward by Defence Minister Kevin Andrews and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Shorten called for the Government to support their ‘bipartisan’ approach of an acquisition process that would include reinstating Sweden, as well as France, Japan and Germany, along with the firm commitment to build the submarine fleet in Australia. Andrews’ response was that Shorten was ‘promising a complete fantasy’, following with:

AUS: Defence upgrades to satellite terminals

The Australian Government has given second pass approval for the acquisition of satellite terminals for deployed land forces, upgrades to existing satellite terminals and terminal monitoring and control systems, as part of Joint Project 2008 Phase 5B1. Approximately $180 million has been approved for the acquisition.

Satellite communications are a critical enabler of Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations, connecting our troops on the ground with command and control, intelligence, geospatial and logistics information.

The project will provide a significant increase in Defence’s satellite communications capabilities, including the first large terminals capable of adequately supporting deployed headquarters. It will also upgrade existing terminals and establish networked terminal monitoring and control systems.

Sri Lanka: Three Russian naval ships arrive at the port of Colombo

Destroyer Admiral Panteleyev (Image: Wiki Commons)

Three Russian ships “Admiral Panteleev”, “Pechenga” and “SB-522”, arrived at the port of Colombo on 28th March 2015 for replenishment and relaxation of their crews. Admiral Panteleev is an anti-submarine ship commanded by Captain 1st Rank Aleksey V. Antsiferov. Pechenga is a replenishment vessel while SB–522 is a salvage tug. The ships, belonging to the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy were ceremonially welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on their arrival.

The Commander of the war ship squadron, Captain 1st Rank Alexander V. Potapov and commanders of the ships accompanied by the Ambassador and the Millitary Attache of the Embassy of the Russia Federation in Sri Lanka paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Area Commander of the Western Naval Area, Commodore Kassapa Paul, at the Western Naval Command Headquarters in Colombo. They held cordial discussions on the matters of mutual interest and exchanged mementos as a gesture of goodwill.

A photo exhibition titled "Soviet Navy and the Great Victory over Fascism in Second World War'' is scheduled to be held on 30th onboard Admiral Panteleev where the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy , Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera, will be the main guest.

The visiting Russian ships will stay in Sri Lanka till 01st April and the crew members are scheduled to take part in special programs arranged by the Sri Lanka Navy during their stay to enhance the friendly relations between the two navies.

Industry: First Of Two Bay Class Patrol Boats Gifted To Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency

A Bay class patrol boat (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak has inspected the first of two Austal-built Bay Class Patrol Boats gifted to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) by the Australian Government, at an event held in Port Klang, Malaysia on Tuesday 17 March 2015.

The 38m Bay Class Patrol Boat, previously the ACV Arnhem Bay and now KM Perwira, was received by the MMEA following a flag-transfer ceremony held in Cairns, Queensland, Australia on 10th February 2015.  A second vessel is due for delivery in April/May 2015.

Austal’s Vice President International Sales and Marketing, Dave Shiner attended the event and noted the warm reception that the vessel received.

News Story: Beijing upset that Manila won't back down in S. China Sea dispute

The Philippines was told by China on Friday to withdraw from disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying expressed serious concern after the Philippines said it would resume repair and reconstruction works on what it considers to be illegally occupied islands.

Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario said Thursday that the work on the islands, including repairs to an airstrip, did not violate the Declaration on Conduct of parties in the South China Sea.

He also accused China of rushing construction projects, including land reclamation, in the South China Sea.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: PLA holds live fire exercise near Myanmar border

The People's Liberation Army has been holding night training exercises in the western plateau of Yunnan province after the clashes between Myanmar government forces and ethnic rebels spilled into China's territory, reports Xinhua-published Reference News.

A brigade of the 14th Field Army has been carrying out a large-scale live fire exercise in Yunnan recently, aiming at increasing its combat capability at night, according to national broadcaster CCTV. Its reports said soldiers were trained with flamethrowers during the practice missions.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: Japan Weighs Options To Boost ASW Skills

SH-60J SeaHawk (Image: Flickr User - SioRAaMEN)

By Paul Kallender-Umezu

TOKYO — Japan's growing need to improve its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities to counter quieter Chinese submarines in littoral waters could set off a three-way race between an upgraded indigenous platform against longer-term solutions, analysts said.

Last August, the Defense Ministry decided to start replacing its aging fleet of 46 SH-60J and 39 SH-60K Seahawk helicopters, providing an initial ¥7 billion (US $57.6 million) as part of a ¥48.1 billion development project. The procurement will lead to the deployment of about 80 new helicopters after 2022, MoD spokesman Tsuyoshi Hirata said.

The procurement mentions indigenous development, so it would seem to favor an easy upgrade of the SH-60K produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) with more advanced electronics, unless the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is looking for a longer-term, more advanced solution, said Matthew Caris, an associate at Avascent Group, a Washington-based defense and aerospace consulting group.

"It seems like an odd time and a small amount of money to develop something truly new; perhaps it's the development of a new MHI H-60 variant with entirely indigenous electronics, which would make a lot more sense," he said.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: How Will Pakistan Respond to the Crisis in Yemen?

<< Large areas of Yemen are controlled by armed rebel groups rather than the national government. (Image: Wiki Commons) PacificSentinel Note: this map is out of date, but gives a general idea of the divisions within the country.

By Ankit Panda

As Arab states head to war in Yemen, Pakistan weighs its options.

Reports late last week in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere suggested that Pakistan, given its close ties to Saudi Arabia, was considering its involvement in the Saudi-led campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Last week, Saudi Arabia, on the request of ousted Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, initiated air strikes and a naval blockade against the Iran-backed Shia Houthi rebels who had captured the Yemeni capital of Sana’a earlier this year. The Yemeni government claimed that the Houthis were planning to overthrow the government and create a Shia state in Yemen while the Houthis see themselves as combating religious intolerance from the government.
Pakistan, a Sunni Islamic state, maintains close defense and strategic ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Last week, after the air strikes began, Saudi Arabia’s state media reported that Pakistan was one of the Muslim countries outside of the Middle East that was considering providing material support. Among Muslim countries, Pakistan is perhaps the most capable militarily. With an active nuclear weapons program and a large military — primarily to counter its greatest perceived threat from neighboring India — Pakistan is an important provider of military training and arms to Saudi Arabia’s armed forces.
Additionally, Riyadh has been a major source of financial assistance for the fiscally fragile Pakistani government. According to Reuters, last year, Pakistan received $1.5 billion in aid from Saudi Arabia to meet debt obligations and bolster its foreign exchange reserves. Given these factors, Pakistan’s involvement in a Saudi-led military campaign is far from unthinkable. Indeed, in 1990, Pakistan agreed to join an international force to defend Saudi Arabia from Iraqi aggression — Pakistani troops protected Saudi holy sites at the time. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Japan's Argument for Collective Self-Defense

Image: Flickr User - Official U.S. Navy Page

By Mina Pollmann

LDP official Masahiko Komura makes the case for collective self-defense after meeting with US Defense Secretary Carter.

Masahiko Komura, vice president of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and former foreign minister, visited Washington and met with U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday. At their meeting, Carter praised Japan’s recent efforts to develop a new legal framework to better defend Japan in an increasingly uncertain East Asia. Komura explained to Carter that the Japanese government wants to be able to exercise the now constitutionally recognized right to collective defense to defend U.S. warships attacked in contingencies that have a security impact on Japan, such as a Korean peninsula crisis.
The new framework would also provide the legal basis for the revisions expected in the Bilateral Defense Guidelines. The Guidelines clarify the roles and expectations for U.S. military and Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) cooperation in a contingency. The Guidelines were last updated in 1997.
On Friday, Komura gave a speech at the U.S.-Japan Security Seminar 2015 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). In his speech, he offered a concise history and clear defense of the Cabinet decision to reinterpret the Constitution last July. The Constitution is ultimately a contract with the people to defend their lives and happiness, Komura argued. Therefore, it is illogical for anything in the Constitution to constrict the government’s ability to defend the state’s very survival. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Will India Lease Another Russian Nuclear Submarine?

INS Chakra (Wiki Info - Imaqge: Wiki Commons)

By Ankit Panda

India may lease another nuclear submarine from Russia.

In December 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to India, traditionally a major consumer of Russia-made military equipment. In New Delhi, Putin met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two pledged to deepen their defense ties. During that visit, Russia’s trade minister, Denis Manturov, hinted that Moscow would eagerly lease a nuclear submarine to India if there was interest:  “If India decides to have more contracts to lease nuclear submarines, we are ready to supply,” he noted. India currently operates one Akula-II-class nuclear submarine, the INS Chakra, leased in 2011 from Russia for a 10 year period. The lease weighs in at $970 million, representing a considerable portion of India’s cumulative spending on Russian equipment.
The Russian minister’s comments were not entirely out of left field: Indian defense ministry officials had told the press that the Indian Navy would acquire another nuclear submarine from Russia. After December, information surrounding a potential second submarine lease died down — until this week. The Russia and India Repor noted last week that a Russian shipbuilding industry source noted that “Russia is ready to lease a second Project 971 Shchuka-B submarine to India for a period of ten years.” The report continues:
The submarine will be customized by the Amur shipyards. Modernization and testing of the submarine and training of the Indian crew will take three years. The Kashalot will be transferred to the Indian Navy in 2018, the source noted. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat